A Performing Medium for Working Group Graphics


Manipulating text-graphics for working groups is a performing art similar to dance. To support such performances on a computer requires a performing medium.

Examining examples of non-computer text-graphics for groups gives a preliminary idea of the underlying phenomenon: the performing of text-graphic manipulation to assist working groups. Among key features of this kind of text-graphic manipulation are: agility (speed in creation, moving and modifying images); generality (freedom to create any kind of image at any time and place); structure (definable spatial patterns of text and graphics are often used); and dynamics (manipulation of text-graphics unfolding over time).

The vmacs™ graphics editor is a computer medium designed to provide these features. vmacs achieves agility through a touch-typing interface with no waiting for menus. The features of generality and it structure are tied together. vmacs is basically a general purpose editor which can then be specialized to support manipulations of the specific spatial patterns found in particular applications. LISP-like processing of text-graphic objects is avaliable for spatial parsing and interpretation according to formal schema. And finally, the dynamics of text-graphic manipulation for working groups are represented in vmacs by symbolic history lists, which allows live performances to be assisted by performance-administrator software modules, and also allows the recorded history of a performance to be replayed, or analyzed according to various measurement algorithms.